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Frozen Lake Baikal and Snow-Blanketed Surroundings, Russia

53.1N 107.6E

February 23rd, 2010 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Russia - February 16th, 2010

Russia - February 16th, 2010

Lake Baikal, the mountains near its coasts, nearby rivers and streams, and much of the surrounding Siberian terrain all appear covered in ice or snow in this winter image. Lake Baikal is in a rift valley, created by the Baikal Rift Zone, where the crust of the earth is pulling apart.

At 636 kilometres (395 mi) long and 79 kilometres (49 mi) wide, Lake Baikal has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in Asia (31,722 km2/12,248 sq mi) and is the deepest lake in the world (1,642 m/5,390 ft). The bottom of the lake is 1,186.5 metres (3,893 ft) below sea level, but below this lies some 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) of sediment, placing the rift floor some 8–11 kilometres (more than 5 miles) below the surface: the deepest continental rift on Earth.

In geological terms, the rift is young and active—it widens about two cm per year. The fault zone is also seismically active; there are hot springs in the area and notable earthquakes every few years. The lake drains into the Angara tributary of the Yenisei.

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